By Silvia Radan www.khaleejtimes.com
ABU DHABI – Minimum $100 million will be spent in Abu Dhabi to improve and modernise traffic technologies.
Plans to bring transport and traffic up-to-date were announced during the opening of the two-day Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) Middle East conference being organised by the Abu Dhabi Police (ADP) and Abu Dhabi Municipality on Tuesday.
“There are over 30,000 kilometres of roads and bridges in the UAE and we are now bringing the latest ITS to cope with the increase of traffic and population,” said Major-General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Director-General of Police Central Operations.
According to studies, ITS technologies have the ability to reduce road accident deaths by 40 per cent and to improve traffic movement by 30 per cent. A special committee put in place by the Ministry of Interior three years ago have been working on choosing the best and most suitable of these technologies for the country’s roads.
Abu Dhabi emirate, especially the capital, where the population and traffic are the most dense, is already installing new traffic systems.
“Abu Dhabi depends on a specific mobility pattern heavily reliant on light vehicles, as the share of public transport does not account for more than seven per cent of total mobility requirements,” said Abdulla Al Shamsi, Executive Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Assets at the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City.
“Such a situation gives rise to several traffic woes and pressures as seen in the rising number of vehicles on roads and traffic congestions, which negatively impact road infrastructure as well as the overall environment,” he added.
The Abu Dhabi government began the development of ITS in the 1980s by building traffic light networks, CCTV monitoring systems and traffic control centres. In these past decades, the city’s municipality has put in place nearly 120 signal junctions, 160 surveillance cameras, a central traffic control unit, built a 200km-long optic fibre network, and deployed 90 cameras to catch motorists jumping red lights.
“Presently, there are 250 new signal junctions as well as surveillance devices deployed in areas under development on Yas, Reem, Saadiyat, Al Sawah and Raha Beach, coupled with the construction of three traffic control centres in these areas,” said Al Shamsi.
“The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, in cooperation with the Department of Transport, has been working on several intelligent traffic system projects, which will be implemented shortly,” he mentioned.
Examples of these include setting up a light signal network in Mohammed bin Zayed City, introducing Virtual Messaging Signs, expanding the CCTV camera network, upgrading the traffic and control systems on Abu Dhabi island and deploying fixed electronic traffic counters, which are all part of the $100-million budget.